We decided to visit Florence on Thursday. We looked it up on the internet to see how much would the train tickets cost us and because it were cheaper on Saturday than on Friday, we picked Saturday. It cost us 48 euros: 2 train tickets from Bologna Centrale to Firenze Santa Maria Novella and back for Saturday at Trenitalia with Frecciargento, second class.
We left Bologna at 06:53 a.m. with the Frecciargento train number 9410 from platform 7 and at 07:30 a.m. we arrived in Florence. It was a little bit chilly, given the early morning hour of our arrival. The shops were just starting their daily activities.
The good part at arriving in a new city at such an early hour is that the streets aren’t crowded with tourists (not that we weren’t tourists also 😀 ) and you get to experience a full day of the city’s life.
We got out of the train station building in Piazza della Stazzione (Station’s Square). In front of us we could see very well the northern side of the church Santa Maria Novella.
We crossed the square, walked thru Piazza dell’unita italiana, alongside the church, until we reached Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. We sat on bench in the middle of the square, had a little snack and admired the facade of the church and the square.
We left Piazza di Santa Maria Novella thru Via dei Banchi. From the street we could see the Dome, but we chose to visit other tourist sights first. Therefore we made a left turn on Via del Giglio and walked straight until we arrived at San Lorenzo church.
We walked around the church, thru the square and got out on Via de’Pucci, having on our left the Palazza Medici Riccardi.
We took a left past the palace thru Via Cavour until we got into Piazza San Marco.
We rested a little, on a bench in front of the statue standing in the middle of the square, admiring the facade of the San Marco church.
After few minutes we made our exit from the San Marco square thru Via C. Battisti towards Piazza della SS. Annunziata. Here we visited the SS. Annunziata church. I really liked the entrance hall.
We walked along the northern side of the cathedral os Santa Maria del Fiore (the Dome) until we reached Piazza di San Giovanni. In the middle of it there is the Battistero din Sann Giovanni (St. Giovanni’s Baptistery). Opposite the north door of the Baptistery is the tickets office. From there we bought 10 euro tickets to visit the 6 major sights in the square: the cathedral, the Baptistery, the Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Opera Museum, the ruins of the Santa Reparata cathedral.
After studing the visiting hours and while it was still early, we decided to start our little visiting tour with the Giottos’s Bell Tower. The ascent of the 414 steps was quite exhausting, but the effort was well woth it. The 360 degrees view of Florence from the tower is spectacular. From up there can easily be seen almost all the tourist sights and the skyline stops on the hills and mountains that surround the city. The small terraces arranged on the roofs of some of the buildings or at the top floors impels you to relax with an italian coffee and an authentic pizza.
To learn more about Gotto’s Bell Tower click here.
After getting down from the tower we needed a little break from all the goint up and down the steps, hence we went to visit the Opera Museum. This is the building where Michelangelo sculpted the famous statue of David. There we could see the second of the three Pietà’s of Michelangelo, also known as Florence Pietà, sculpted during the years 1547 to 1555.
If you want to know more about the Museum click here.
We continued our tour with the visit of the Cathedral. To get to its tourist entrance we had to cross Piazza del Duomo, alongside the Bell Tower. After waiting at a line that spread from the northern door of the Baptistery up to the right side door (the one near the Bell Tower) of the cathedral’s facade (west side). We visited the cathedral clockwise from the entrance.
To learn more about the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral click here.
We found our way out of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral through the door near the Bell Tower in Piazza del Duomo. Then we went round the cathedral and waited at another line in order to visit the Dome (Cupola). We asceded 463 steps up to the Dome’s terace. from there we could overlook onece again the amazing view over the Florentine city. While up there we could see the Dome from the outside (the terace) and from the inside (narrow passage). Inside we could observe closely the frescoes painted within the Domes cupola.
We exit the dome by going down a bunch of very narrow steps that ended to a door to Piazza del Duomo, opposite the one we went up.
If you want to know more about the Dome click here.